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Charbonnier
"I’d rather die standing up
than live on my knees."
Stephane Charbonnier
(1967-2015)


What Does Islam Teach About...

Jizya (Extortion)

Does Islam require that people of other faiths pay money to support the Muslim religion?

Muhammad clearly established that people of other religions have to pay a poll tax to Muslims called the jizya, as a reminder of their inferior status. This abrogates an earlier verse stating that there is "no compulsion in religion" and it destroys any pretense that Islam is merely a religion and not a political system.

Quran

Quran (9:29) - "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."

Hadith and Sira

Muslim (19:4294) - There are many places in the hadith where Muhammad tells his followers to demand the jizya of non-believers. Here he lays down the rule that it is to be extorted by force: "If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them"

Sahih Bukhari (53:386) - The command for Muslims to spread Islamic rule by force, subjugating others until they either convert to Islam or pay money, is eternal: Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah Alone or give Jizya (i.e. tribute); and our Prophet has informed us that our Lord says:-- "Whoever amongst us is killed (i.e. martyred), shall go to Paradise to lead such a luxurious life as he has never seen, and whoever amongst us remain alive, shall become your master." This is being recounted during the reign of Umar, Muhammad's companion and the second caliph, who sent conquering armies into non-Muslim Persian and Christian lands (after Muhammad's death).

Sahih Bukhari (41:19) - "When Allah's Messenger had conquered Khaibar, he wanted to expel the Jews from it as its land became the property of Allah, His Apostle, and the Muslims. Allah's Messenger intended to expel the Jews but they requested him to let them stay there on the condition that they would do the labor and get half of the fruits. Allah's Messenger told them, "We will let you stay on thus condition, as long as we wish." So, they (i.e. Jews) kept on living there until `Umar forced them [out]." The Khaybar were a peacful farming community that were attacked by surprise and and conquered.  The Jizya in this case was set at half of the non-Muslim's earnings.

Ishaq 956 & 962 - "He who withholds the Jizya is an enemy of Allah and His apostle." The words of Muhammad.

Notes

According to the esteemed historian Ibn Kathir, Muhammad established the jizya as a means of compensating the "converted" Meccans for their loss of revenue following the total ban of other religions from the Kaaba. This had ended the centuries-old tradition of pilgrimages by people of all faiths during the holy months, on which the local economy depended:
Allah, most high, ordered the believers to prohibit the disbelievers from entering or coming near the sacred mosque. On that, [Muhammad's home tribe of] Quraysh thought that this would reduce their profits from trade. Therefore, Allah most high compensated them and ordered them to fight the people of the Book until the embrace Islam or pay the jizya. Ibn Kathir, The Battles of the Prophet, p. 183-184
This practice enabled Muhammad and his successors to fund Islamic military expansion and the lifestyle of the religious class through extortion from non-believers. In 630, the prophet of Islam marched an army into Christian lands, in what came to be known as the "Battle of Tabuk." In fact, there was no battle because there was no opposing army. The residents were taken by surprise. Some were killed, and the survivors were forced to pay protection money to Muhammad. (Clearly abrogating the previous rule of "no compulsion in religion" that contemporary apologists are so fond of repeating).

Only eleven years after Muhammad's death, his companions swept through North Africa, putting to the sword those who would not submit to Islamic rule. In 643, Tripoli was conquered and the native Christian Berbers were forced to give their wives and children to the Muslims as slaves, to satisfy the jizya.

Like the mafia, Muslims told their unwilling donors that they were paying for 'protection' - even though the main threat to their livelihood and safety was, of course, from their Muslims benefactors.

This lucrative extortion racket was practiced down through the centuries, and was a part of the brutal Ottoman rule over Christians, Jews and others. The Serbs of Europe were particularly hard hit and often had to hand over their children to satisfy the collector. The children were then converted to Islam and trained as Jihad warriors for use in foreign campaigns (the so-called Janissaries).

In India, well into the 17th century, Muslim tax collectors would also take the wives and children of impoverished Hindus and sell them into slavery for the jizya requirement. The only way for many to avoid losing their families was to convert to Islam. This tremendous discrimination is how Islam made inroads into populations that wanted nothing to do with it (as a cleric so much as admitted in 2013).

Technically, there is no such thing in Islam as an innocent non-Muslim, which makes those ballyhooed condemnations of "terror against innocent people" even more useless. There is a basis for protecting the "People of the Book" (originally Jews and Christians, but later extended to Hindus when Muslim leaders realized that killing them was less profitable than taxing them). "Dhimmis" place themselves completely under the rule of Muslims, relinquishing all rights and agreeing to finance the Muslim expansion. Unfortunately, even this has not been enough to spare religious minorities extreme persecution and massacre.

Traditionally the collection of the jizya occurs at a ceremony that is designed to emphasize the subordinate status of the non-Muslim, where the subject is often struck in a humiliating fashion. M.A. Khan recounts that some Islamic clerics encouraged tax collectors to spit into the mouths of Hindu dhimmis during the process. He also quotes the popular Sufi teacher, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi:
"The honor of Islam lies in insulting the unbelief and the unbelievers (kafirs). One who respects kafirs dishonors Muslims... The real purpose of levying the Jizya on them is to humiliate them... [and] they remain terrified and trembling." Islamic Jihad
British preacher Anjem Choudary points out that "the normal situation is for [Muslims] to take money from the kuffar" (at the time, he was encouraging believers in the UK to quit working and live on public benefits). The Quran also affirms that the collection of jizya is is the ideal relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims. The verse mandating this (9:5) occurs much later than the verse stating that there is "no compulsion in religion" (2:256), meaning that it takes precedence and abrogates the earlier verse. This is why Islamic purists such as Hamas and the Taliban wish to reinstate the jizya. One of the first orders of the self-declared caliphate formed by the Islamic State in 2014 was to impose the jizya by force on Christians who refused to embrace Islam.

An Egyptian cleric on al-Hafaz TV said in 2013 that American foreign aid to that country was a form of jizya "owed" to them. He believed that Muslims should demand more money from the Americans so that, in his words, "we can leave them alone." Only when the jizya is paid will America "be allowed to to recognize its own interests, the ones we agree to."

Contemporary Muslim apologists frequently tout the earlier "no compulsion in religion" verse when attempting to portray Islam as peaceful - and are somewhat reluctant to admit that the jizya is a penalty for not being Muslim. They usually fall back on claiming that the jizya is merely a tax paid to the government - glossing over the fact that this "tax" was imposed on the basis of religious status and was nearly always a much greater burden than that required of Muslim citizens. The interesting thing about this rhetorical strategy is that it directly contradicts any pretense that Islam is merely a religion and not a political system.

Tolerance in Islam isn't free. The jizya is money paid by non-Muslims in order to keep practicing their religion. Under Islamic law, if the money is not paid, the people are to be killed or enslaved.

See also: Islamic Jizya: Fact and Fiction by Raymond Ibrahim
and Rights of Non-Muslims in an Islamic State

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